My latest Sympatico column, with some comments from Richard Zokol, about the wonder of Pebble Beach is up at Sympatico:
There’s a lot of debate about who is the hottest star at this week’s U.S. Open.
Is it Phil Mickelson, who could usurp a struggling Tiger Woods as the best golfer in the world? What about Lee Westwood who is coming off a win and has become one of the game’s most consistent players?
None of them. This week, as is the case anytime the best golfers in the world hit the Monterey coastline, the spotlight is focused clearly on the majesty and breathtaking wonder of Pebble Beach. It could be argued that no golf course is more famous than Pebble. Sure there’s Augusta, home of the Masters, but the Average Joe won’t ever get near it, let alone play it. And yes, there’s no doubting the glorious nature of the Old Course at St. Andrews, the place where the game began. But it is only on international television every five years when the British Open rolls into town (as it will this year), and even then there are some who will find its wide fairways and massive greens to be, well, a little dull.
But Pebble is glorious even when its brilliance is dulled by rain, which often happens when the PGA Tour shows up at the course for the AT&T National Pro-Am. The forecast this week calls for cool, clear weather, that will surely show off some of the best holes in the world.
Canadian golf veteran Richard Zokol first played the course in 1982, his first year on the PGA Tour. He says he was awed by the course, and played two U.S. Opens at Pebble, making the cut both times.
“It is a special place,” Zokol explains. “If St. Andrews is the home of golf in Scotland, then Pebble is in North America.”